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Album review: Alexandra Stréliski – Inscape

PUBLISHED: 10:13 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:13 02 October 2018

Alexandra Streliski's second release - Inscape - is released on October 5

Alexandra Streliski's second release - Inscape - is released on October 5

Archant

A set of skilled, expressive piano solos that are impossible to dislike

The artwork for Streliski's second album, released eight years after her acclaimed debut recordThe artwork for Streliski's second album, released eight years after her acclaimed debut record

Inscape comes eight years after Stréliski’s debut Pianoscope, an international hit that has seen neoclassical music invited to the table of mainstream consciousness, her name one to insouciantly drop into conversation at certain dinner parties alongside artists like Chilly Gonzales, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm or Agnes Obel.

This second collection of solo piano work arguably makes the French-Canadian composer cooler still as her association with acclaimed film director Jean-Marc Vallée deepens; her music was used in his films Dallas Buyers Club and Demolition, and tracks from Inscape featured in his recent HBO miniseries Sharp Objects.

Stréliski’s dainty ditties are quietly expressive, contemplative and calming – the title hints at her experience of existential crises and the philosophical “interior landscapes” she encountered, but Inscapes’ deceptively simple songs have a chameleonic quality that allows for broad appeal, morphing to each listener’s interpretation.

Recent single Plus Tôt opens the record with a lyrical meander that fans of Chilly Gonzales’ Solo Piano work will instantly warm to. Changing Winds, a delicate lullaby recorded on an old upright Steinway with both soft pedals employed, is tender and vulnerable. Burnout Fugue enchants with a tumbling canter across the keys, Overturn hooks you with a quietly insistent beat, and Par La Fenêtre De Théo is pierced with playfulness.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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